Football

Dani Alves outlines his Barcelona plans to Xavi

Dani Alves declared he feels “like a superhero” as he promised to try and “rescue” Barcelona following his sensational return to Camp Nou.

The Brazil legend, 38, has signed a short-term deal with Barca until the end of the season and he will be eligible for selection from January onwards.

Alves left Sao Paolo in September and he arrives back in Catalonia after five-and-a-half years away from the Blaugrana.

The veteran right-back made 391 appearances for Barcelona between 2008 and 2016, winning 13 major honours including three Champions League titles.

However, he returns to find a club barely resembling the European force of old, with Barcelona ninth in La Liga and facing a fierce battle to reach the Champions League knockout stages.

Alves will play under his former teammate Xavi, who was appointed manager in early November, and he admits they face an “incredible challenge” to turn things around.

But he is also “fascinated” by the task at hand and vowed to give everything to the cause, saying: “I’ve worked so hard all my life and now I’m here to help Barcelona grow.

“It’s an incredible challenge and I’m fascinated by it. To fight and defend this jersey — when I wear this jersey, I feel like a superhero.

“I’ll try to rescue the Barca that we all love so much. There’s no margin for error. This is a great opportunity.

“More than 50 per cent of my winning mentality was generated in my time here. I still have a house here and part of my family live here. It was inevitable that I came back.”

Due to Barcelona’s dire financial predicament, Alves has agreed to play for just €1 per month and his deal is believed to include the option to extend for another season, until the summer of 2023.

His love of the club prompted him to offer his services this summer, but then-manager Ronald Koeman and president Joan Laporta turned down this opportunity.

In contrast, Xavi leapt at the chance to reunite with Alves and his clear demand prompted Laporta to secure the morale-boosting deal.

Despite his advanced years, Alves has shown no signs of slowing down and led Brazil Under-23 to gold at Tokyo 2020 this summer as one of his country’s permitted overage players.

Olympics glory marked the latest addition to a record-breaking trophy cabinet containing 44 winners’ medals.

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